On February 19, the final conference of the project "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Belarus in Accession to the World Trade Organization through Strengthening National Institutional Capacity and Expertise (Phase 4) was held”. According to experts, the process of Belarus' accession to the WTO is going smoothly and dynamically.

During the conference, it was announced that the Government of the Russian Federation, as well as the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund, will support the fifth, final phase, during which Belarus will stand a good chance to join the WTO.

Vladimir Serpikov, Ambassador at Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Head of the Negotiations Delegation of the Republic of Belarus on the accession to WTO, stressed that in the course of 2017 six protocols on access to the market of goods and services were signed, while for all previous years - only 10.

"We have almost finished negotiations with a number of other countries, and there should not be any unexpected steps from their side, although there are also cases when countries begin to expand their demands at the last moment. But we have placed our priorities, formed our position, and understand what our partners in the WTO negotiation process are expecting from us. Close cooperation with our Russian partners also helped us much," said Vladimir Serpikov.

The conference was attended by representatives of the donor of the project, the Government of the Russian Federation, who also appreciated the work done.

"We understand that the negotiation process will not be easy, but the Russian side is ready to provide all-round support to Belarus, including by using its position and influence in the WTO," Pavel Shevtsov, Deputy Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Belarus assured.

"It is the high time for Belarus to join the WTO as the country experiences the increasing levels of foreign direct investments and is ranked 38th best place in the world to do business. It’s the high time that Belarus joins the other 98% of the world trade economy represented by 164 WTO members" said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Zachary Taylor.

Within the framework of the project, a wide expertise in the field of trade policy was developed, and to date, Belarus already has experts of the highest level who are able to conduct trade negotiations of any complexity.

"It is important that the work done will help the new generation of trade negotiators within the WTO in the future and will also contribute to Belarus’ active integration with the rest of Eurasia," Zachary Taylor added.

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